Proust had his magic cookies. I have mine.
As a child, I loved cookbooks. One of my very favorites was written especially for kids: The Cookie Book. I believe I was in second grade when I painstakingly chose it from the monthly Scholastic pamphlet like the ones my own grade schooler waves in front of me, dog-eared and check-marked, every month. Here’s a photo of me from around that time.
I don’t know why I was pouting. Maybe I was feeling queasy from all the goldenrod decor. Side note: I wish my mom would still make me clothes like that. That smock would cost two hundred dollars at Anthropologie.
My Cookie Book not only survived the seventies, it survived my tumultuous teens all through the eighties (including the fire that destroyed my childhood home), and my rambling twenties. Its endurance was finally rewarded when I unearthed it among my mother’s keepsakes, and brought it to Little Rock to meet my children.
The book has 12 cookie recipes, one for each month. My favorite is October’s: Snicker Doodles. We’re only three days into the month, and I’ve made them twice already.
The texture is incredible — soft and chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside. They taste and smell out of this world. And they really do look like a harvest moon.
The recipe in the book is written for young children, with meticulously detailed, step-by-step instructions that cover two pages. Here’s an abridged version, that assumes you know how to break eggs and cream butter with sugar.
(from the COOKIE BOOK by Eva Moore, published by Scholastic in 1973)
- 1/2 c. butter or other soft shortening
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 c flour
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1 t cream of tartar
- 1 T granulated sugar + 1 T cinnamon for coating
Cream butter and sugar. Add the egg, and beat it all together. “Beat it and beat it,” instructs the book.
Sift dry ingredients together (except the cinnamon sugar coating). Gradually add to the creamed butter mixture, stirring until you have a sticky dough.
Cover and chill for one hour.
Preheat oven to 400 and mix cinnamon with sugar on a small plate. Break off walnut sized pieces of cookie dough and form into balls. Roll each ball in cinnamon sugar, then place on an ungreased cookie sheet with lots of room around each. Bake without opening the oven door for ten minutes.
“Then look–magic! The cinnamon-sugar balls have become flat and crinkly snicker doodles!”
And they can travel through time, pulling you back to your mother’s kitchen on an crisp autumn day, enveloped in warmth and sweetness and goldenrod.